Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Glenn Kranzley, the Morning Call’s former editor, has written an update of Northampton County’s history. It will be formally introduced on Thursday, December 7, 4 pm, at Easton’s Sigal Museum. The public is invited, and Glenn has even promised to sign my copy.

Northampton County has had a fascinating history. For starters, I’d recommend Sweet Land of Liberty, which describes the American revolution at at time when NorCo was In 1774, Northampton County was the second largest of Pennsylvania’s eleven counties. In addition to fighting the British, this tome sheds light on the whiskey patriots who were going to make Northampton County great again. They often victimized those with different religions like Quakers, Mennonites and Moravians. Their religious beliefs forbade the taking of loyalty oaths. That was a perfect excuse to take their belongings.

“The Committee [of Privates] arrested and jailed persons whom zealous patriots had fingered as suspected Tories. It issued summonses and dispatched squads of armed militiamen to apprehend persons who disre g a rded its authority. It extracted confessions, levied fines, and published the names and offences of the guilty in Philadelphia newspapers. In short, frontier justice thrived in Northampton.”

A more sanitized version of Northampton County was funded by Northampton County Council in 1953. It is called Northampton Heritage: The Story of an American County, by E. Gordon Alderfer.

As Northampton County approached its 250th birthday, former County Executive and County Councilman Gerald “Jerry” Seyfried urged the County to update its history. Council agreed, and was lucky enough to get Kranzley to write it.

His work is called Still Changing, Still Home: Northampton County Since the 1950s. Paperbacks are $14.99 and hardcovers are $22.99. I will be purchasing a few copies and will review the book. i am told it is extremely detailed.

I am especially interested in Kranzley’s account of how Northampton County became a Home Rule Charter county.

Here’s what I know, but this is purely anecdotal. I’m told that the big push to change to home rule came from The Bethlehem Steel. This proposal was opposed by the Northampton County Democratic party because it would mean an end to all the patronage jobs that existed at that time. So when Congressman Fred Rooney was recruited to chair the Yes committee, party boss Justin Jirolanio was livid.

It may very well have cost Rooney his seat in Congress.

According to the story, an intern was asked to bring Rooney some documents concerning home rule to the Congressman’s Washington office. Rooney was lying on a couch (probably from overwork, not alcohol) and called the young man in.

“Tell me, what’s this Yes Committee about?”

“Mr. Rooney, you’re the Chairman!”